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Can Only One Religion be True? Paul Knitter and Harold Netland in Dialogue.

Can Only One Religion be True? Paul Knitter and Harold Netland in Dialogue. Edited by Robert B. Stewart. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-8006-9928-4. 272 pages. Paper. $24.00.

Can Only One Religion be True? The question appears to be rhetorical. Whether or not this question expects an answer, readers are alerted that a rather limited perspective for the discussion of pluralism has been set in place. Rendering the dialogue to an either/ or framework will easily force readers to take sides on the issue.

What do we expect from a dialogue between a Catholic (known as a mutualist) and an evangelical (in a liberal stream)? Yes, more labels are found throughout the book. There is just no way to know if these labels achieve mutual respect and greater mutual understanding. When it comes to the uniqueness of Christianity, the evangelical circles put much emphasis on the idea of salvation. It gives an impression that the debate is reduced to soul-saving; whereas, this idea of salvation is not necessarily the focus of other religions' attention. The discourse of difference constructed for the theology of religions unfortunately divides groups into "us" and "them." If the discussion of religion is rested upon the discourse of difference, a dialogue on culture and pluralism will only be comparing apples to oranges. The disposition of dialogue remains egotistical. To craft effective dialogue, Stewart and his cohorts may want to acknowledge that dialogue is not an end in itself. Dialogue is a way of living that sets out for a genuine exploration of truth. It requires courage to turn challenges into opportunities for faith transformation.

One should not, however, deny Stewart's editorial skills of compiling the materials in a concise manner. The book is a collection of papers presented at the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum in Faith and Culture, including a transcript of the dialogue between Paul Knitter and Harold Netland. It provides basic concepts to the field of religious pluralism and theology of religions.

Man Hei, Yip

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

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Author:Man Hei, Yip
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2015
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